Wednesday, July 21, 2010

[From SIGIR 2010]: KeyNote on Refactoring the Search Problem

The largest forum for researchers in the Information Retrieval community "ACM SIGIR" is underway in Geneva, Switzerland and it began yesterday. The best thing about social network platforms of today is that even though you are not in the conference, you are up to date with all the talks , the papers and new innovative ideas being presented and thanks to Twitter and blogosphere much of SIGIR 2010 happenings are coming to me straight and live :)

This year's SIGIR conference has 15 papers from Microsoft Research which clearly shows Microsoft is going to put a lot of effort into IR in the near future and researchers at Microsoft are certainly working hard to make Bing better and better.

Yesterday's keynote speech at SIGIR was presented on refactoring of the search problem in which Gary W Flake of Microsoft Live Labs described and demonstrated Microsoft Pivot.

From what I see it, Pivot seems to be a cross of the aspects of HCI (Human Computer Interaction) and Information Retrieval. Watch this TED talk for a live demo of Pivot:

Pivot's claim is to get rid of the curse of information overload in this information age by making the user search experience more near to a search rather than simple browsing.........this he said is achieved by taking raw data and combining it with metadata for faceted navigation. The idea seems promising but I find it is more so borrowed from Wolfram Alpha who have already experimented with this type of search engine which they call a computational knowledge engine:

Also some hard challenges in this task involve server-side issues and a question: is this style of search a good model for all kinds of searches? That the future will tell as Microsoft has plans to integrate Pivot technology with their recently released search engine Bing.

I will be blogging more on some key papers and talks in SIGIR...........if you are interested in live updates follow on twitter with hastag #sigir2010, #sigir and #sigir10.

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